This week I want to provide you with a quick update on the February legislative session as it relates to our work.
The session got off to a quick start this week as the implementation proposal for Coordinated Care Organizations was before the Senate health care committee. Things will move quickly during this short session. You can see the implementation proposal as well as a two-page fact sheet at health.oregon.gov.
Meanwhile, across the state local communities are putting together plans to coordinate care in unprecedented ways. From southern to central Oregon to the Portland Metro area, new coalitions are forming that are centered around OHP members and improving their health and lowering costs. As we at the Oregon Health Authority work to break down unnecessary barriers and red tape, it is heartening to see similar work happening with our partners around the state.
Lawmakers also began the budget process with the aim of filling a $300 million budget shortfall this month. At this point it is unclear what the total shortfall might be as there will be another revenue forecast on Feb. 8. Though the session is short, it is too soon to predict how things will play out. As discussions are ongoing I will keep you updated to the best of my ability.
As you are no doubt aware, some of the budget proposals call for further reductions in staff on top of those we have already taken. What the outcome will be is not yet known and final decisions will be made over the next month. I know that this is difficult and can create uncertainty and concern. Please know that you are valued by me and everyone on our leadership team. Over the past several years we have asked more and more from the OHA workforce and you continue to deliver. Do not be discouraged by a very real budget situation. We will work together to figure this out in the best way possible. Oregonians count on the work you do every day and I will continue to tell that story and about all that we are doing at OHA to bring better health at a lower cost for Oregonians. Thank you.